Spring into action with photography & time-lapse

Spring or “springtime” as a season speaks to ideas of rebirth, renewal, resurrection and regrowth. Leaving the colder weather behind means that flowers and trees can begin to bloom – a perfect transition to capture with a camera.

The length of daylight hours are starting to increase with the Earth’s axis increasing its tilt towards the Sun. Spring takes its name from the new plant growth that ‘springs forth’ during this period, as things start to warm up significantly.

Capturing in full bloom

For photographers especially, this means that there are many wonders of springtime to be documented and pored over. Flowers are incredibly detailed and beautiful to look at. Indeed, they are always a source of inspiration when using a camera – not just at springtime.

Different locations also reap different types of flowers, woodland and foliage. Wild flowers and thrifts are a prominent feature along clifftops, for example, adding incredible explosions of colour to headlands for those wider angled shots.

Macro shot of dew drops caught on a leaf.
Above: dew drops caught melting on plant leaves are perfect for livening up those macro shots.

Isolating detail in floral photography is key. Just focusing on petals and buds can make vibrant compositions. Equally as appealing are the wildlife that such flowers may attract.

Tip: lighting is also key when capturing macro shots of flowers. Sunlight shining through petals can help emphasise textures and colours.

Flowers begin to bloom when snow is still on the ground (see our feature image above). The moisture in the air from melting snow and frost, as well as that caught on flowers and grass can offer extraordinary opportunities for macro photography (left).

Shots which feature ‘carpets’ of flowers – fields full of one particular type of flower or plant – are quintessential at springtime. But even the most typical shots are still worth pursuing.

Tip: for any gaps in the spread of flowers, try a longer lens and stand further back from the scene. This will compress the gaps and make the flowers look dense and more tightly packed together.

Plus, scenes like this are often unspoiled at this time of year so it can be interesting to focus your lens on the remnants of winter that is being softened by the rejuvenation of warmth and plant growth.

Weather wonders

Although the weather can be unpredictable, it is worth paying attention to the forecast when planning photography excursions as certain conditions are optimal for capturing those more atmospheric of shots.

With warm and cold air more likely to circulate simultaneously at this time of year, mist is a very common element at springtime. The earlier the better with these shots, too – these conditions don’t last long and occur mostly before sunrise.

Light shining through the mist is another typical springtime shot but the diffusion of the sunlight at this time is just too good to miss, giving a softer tone to your shots. Additionally, ‘golden hour’ (the hour following sunrise or the hour before sunset) is perfect when photographing flowers, as the light gives a favourable highlight and saturation to your shots.

Twitter trends

Equally as important as capturing these shots is how they will be shared.

As a partly visual platform, Twitter is often the next best source of information (besides the news) in which to keep track of ‘live’ weather updates. These are communicated by photos taken ‘on-the-go’ on smartphones, equipped with GPS and hashtags in order to reach a mass audience in seconds.

Aside from this practical functionality, images of weather and other seasonal conditions are often shared for their purely visual assets.

Trending hashtags can quickly become an online archive of photographs from around the world. Spring is an exciting time of year to share in this way – sun, blue skies and beautiful flowers will liven up anyone’s Twitterfeed.

From Twitter to time-lapse

Another mode of photography that is popular on Twitter is time-lapse.

Dealing with a series of still images collated together in a sequence, time-lapse is also an ideal means of documenting any seasonal changes in action.

Unlike basic image capture, time-lapse photography manipulates time so that processes that are usually too subtle to see with the human eye, are emphasised and made more prominent when played back.

Brings renewal : a spring timelapse by vincent
 

Movement of clouds and skies over growing landscapes are ideal for this kind of capture. As in the example above, the sequence highlights some of the most favourable elements of spring: the colour, the weather and landscapes bursting into life.

The manipulation of time that comes from time-lapse is also put to good use by photographers to capture another important element of springtime: plant life. Living on a different time scale to humans, certain aspects of plant behaviour can be easily recognised when viewed through time-lapse, as movements and growth are accelerated considerably.

Flowers blooming are equally as impressive to watch when growing outside of their natural surroundings. The simple black studio used to time-lapse this garden of budding flowers emphasises the dynamic colours of these impressive organisms and the delicate, ‘dancing’ movements that would otherwise be invisible.

 

So with spring comes plenty of opportunity to capture the beginning of the next seasonal cycle. And remember, seasons come around every year giving you more than enough time to hone your photography and time-lapse skills.

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